August 18th, 2008
03:19 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama jabs McCain for 'rich' definition

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Obama took aim at McCain for jokingly defining ‘rich’ as earning $5 million or more per year.
Obama took aim at McCain for jokingly defining ‘rich’ as earning $5 million or more per year.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) – Barack Obama took a jab Monday at a weekend comment by John McCain that the minimum income for “rich” making $5 million a year.

At an economic roundtable discussion of the economy Monday in Albuquerque, Obama accused McCain of “peddling” President Bush’s economic policies from the past eight years, including tax breaks for the wealthy.

“Which I guess if you’re making $3 million a year, you're middle class,” said Obama, admitting that maybe McCain was joking.

But that's reflected in his policies,” Obama continued, “where for people making more than $2.5 million, he's giving folks a $500,000 tax break. And so this is a fundamental difference in this election.”

Both candidates appeared, separately, at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church on Saturday for his “civil forum” on faith, values and leadership. Asked to define “rich,” McCain responded that it should be defined by a home, a good job, education and “the ability to hand our children a safer and more prosperous world…”

“So I think if you’re just talking about income, how about five million?” he later added. “I’m sure that comment will be distorted, but the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”

Asked the same question earlier in the night, Obama joked that it was book sales of 25 million referring to Warren’s bestselling books. He then declined to give an exact number saying that it depends where one lives but that $250,000 a year means “you are doing well.”

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded in an email saying that Obama is “shamelessly distorting” McCain’s comment.

"Remember when Barack Obama said he was ‘tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems?’ Neither do we," wrote Bounds.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. R

    Obama, i'm a democrat, and no waiy would i vote for McCain, but MCCAIN WAS JOKING!!! Stop it before it starts hurting you :(

    August 18, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. OBAMA SUPPORTER IN IOWA

    TO THE RICH PEOPLE –

    HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH??? SERIOUSLY, WILL YOU EVER SAY "I'VE GOT ENOUGH MONEY AND I DON'T NEED ANY MORE". SOUNDS LIKE GREED IS A BIGGER ADDICTION THAN METH

    August 18, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. steve

    to the 3 or 4 people who couldn't understand the quote in the article, try rereading it... you'll figure it out.

    "Remember when Barack Obama said he was ‘tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems?’ Neither do we," wrote Bounds.

    "Neither do we" is an answer to the rhetorical question preceeding it. duhh

    August 18, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. Dan J

    Same old Washington politics, from Obama

    August 18, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. jo

    puma 4 hill
    We need smart person in the whitehouse. I don't care where he was born, I don't care what legislature he has sponsored. I know that he is smart that is why I voted for Bill Clinton and that is why I am voting for Obama.

    August 18, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. Chuck

    McCain articulate. What forum were you watching on Saturday night. All I saw was a 5 year old robot providing one word responses, some of which he tried to joke his way out of, or attempted to get a sympathy vote by leaning on his years as a POW. There was no articulation of the issues facing this country today.

    August 18, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. robert

    WE DONT NEED ANY MORE TAXES.........PERIOD........ JUST STOP SPENDING!!!!

    August 18, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Chris

    I am saddened by all of this. During these presidential campaings the realization that the overwhelming majority of my fellow Americans, both Democrat and Republican, are incredibly dumb, is reinforced over and over again.

    When you live in a land populated by mental midgets, you get presidents like GWB. Now, thanks to primary season where the mental midgets (lets call them, the smal brain brigade or SSB for short), have given us two fantastic choices. One who is about to enter a nursing home, and the other who is barely out of diapers. Way to go team USA.

    To all the simpletons from sea to shining sea..... please stop having babies. The only way to make the US a better place is for the dumb people to stop making more dumb people.

    Vote for none of the above.

    August 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Kody

    Please tell me why is it that Republicans get tied in a knot about paying taxes. How else are we going to pay for George Bushes War?

    I have one thing to say to the guy that miss quoted Mr Obama. If you can't hear don't talk. 250.000 is what he said not 55K.

    Oh I'm sorry,you haven't been able to hear in 7 years, because if you could have you would have long ago got off the Bush wagon.

    August 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. steve

    pitiful when so many people want to take from other people for the crime of having more than you do.

    the government collects 2.6 TRILLION dollars a year from us. that should be more than enough. it doesn't matter how much money they take in, they will always find a way to spend it, and spend more. giving them more money just gives them a higher ceiling to reach beyond.

    the FACT is that the richest people already pay the overwhelming majority of income tax. they buy your schools, your roads, your old-people-payments, and your free healthcare.
    bleeding them out more won't solve the problem of excessive spending in the govt

    let's quit looking at "who else can we take more stuff from" and start questioning what the heck our government is doing with this absurd fortune every year

    August 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Nina

    What ever happened to helping yourself. Why do people in this country think that the gov owes it to give you a hand out when you are having trouble. Everyone wants something for nothing. If you can't afford the things in your life then let some of it go or get another job. CHANGE comes from within. I grew up poor, my parents had a hard time with 5 kids but they did it and raised us without expecting a hand out. We didn't grow up with alot of extra but we were feed and clothed and had shelter. Cable is not a requirement for life people. I grew up poor but happy and independent. I have made my own change with hard work and sweat. That is what america is all about. The goverment doesn't owe us nothing nor do I as a tax payer. Make a change this year. In yourself. If something issn't working change it!!!

    August 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Rose

    Lighten up Obama, don't you know that McCain was not serious when he said five Million, if that is the best you can do you had better do some more homework with your advisers. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill!!!!

    August 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. LT for Obama

    Obama is the dumbest candidate ever and jabbing obama –

    You are two of the most ill informed people I have seen on these blogs. Maybe you should actually learn about the candidate before you speak.

    When was the last time you heard Obama say that 55k+ was rich? He said that those over $250,000 he considers rich.

    As for his home, he paid for it. Do the research and stop listening to the liars who will tell you anything and you believe it.

    As for text messages, what Obama is doing will not cost me a thing because I have a plan that allows free text messages. Maybe you need to change your cell phone plan.

    August 18, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Joseph From Dallas, Texas

    It's real simple people....the only way we are going to get our country out of this whole the Republicans put us in is to RAISE TAXES! Good thing I'm not making $250,000 a year!

    August 18, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Jack Mehoff, Orlando

    No prayer rugs in the Oval office.

    McCain 08'

    August 18, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. non black nonwhite

    To the"Obama is the dumbest candidate ever": You sound like the dumbest person ever, you probably are a PUMA or a rich GOP. You have no basis for your allegation, u do realize that McCain is richer than Hillary and Obama put together. I guess you like McCain's policy of " america is bunch of whiners".

    August 18, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Sal

    "Remember when Obama said he was tired of distortion and name calling", yea i also remember when McLame said he would run a clean campaign without negative attacks, he's a liar and another GOP puppet, having Karl Rove's people take over his campaign.

    Obama in '08, easily

    August 18, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. Allen in Hartwell GA

    To all those living the high life, try living on less than $55K a year like my wife and I do. Yet we still pay taxes and give the church 10%. There is no reason but gluttony to spend more than you make, and to think that $250K a year isn't rich is to make a mockery of the millions who get by on one fifth of that without complaining.

    August 18, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  19. nitro

    Rick Warren's fat greasy behind will have to answer to no one but God. And believe me lying and cheating for God is nowhere in the bible. Make me beleive that Mcliar did not listen to the forum while he was on his way to the building. This was planed to score points with a group of people that was truely tired of the lies the republicans to include John McCain are putting out. This has been planned for weeks, so explain how you end up being 30 minutes late for a nation wide broadcast.

    August 18, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. Matt

    You know you're winning on issues when your opponent has to sell your Joke as a position of attack you on!

    August 18, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Barry Soetoro

    Obama makes ten times what McCain makes... Michelle asked "what can Americans do with a 600 dollar tax incentive.... buy a pair of ear rings".... yea... might want to stick to the teleprompter there Barry... didn't you learn anything from the other night!

    August 18, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Former Republican

    How sad of what the Republican party has become. Republicans are now the immoral ones who's idea of a President is an unfaithful slimeball connected to Keating five, agreed with all of Bushes big Government spending and is now willing to have a p ro-abortion VP.

    Now a four years after insulting us Christians, he needs us and has found religion?

    Just because McCain has an R after his name, doesn't mean he embodies the Republican philosophy.

    McCain is a disgrace to the Republican Party!

    August 18, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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